CM provides services to senior citizens

Contracts are with family members

Nancy Polites, LCSW, C-ASWCM, worked as a social worker for a home health agency, a hospital, and a hospice service before starting Elder Care Service, a case management service for seniors in 2007 with a colleague while she was living in California.

Polites moved to south Florida in 2008 and now provides case management services to elderly clients in Palm Beach and South Martin counties.

Much of Polites’ business comes from family members who live in the North and have parents in south Florida who need care. She works with people who spend the winter in south Florida as well as those who live there permanently. “I get calls from people whose parents are in the area for the winter and they want someone to check on them and provide whatever assistance they need,” she says.

She provides an array of services that include managing physician and dentist appointments and accompanying patients if needed, assisting with relocation if seniors need to move to a different level of care, responding with crisis interventions when needed, assisting with transportation, running errands, paying bills, and helping with legal documents such as advance directives and long-term care insurance issues.

When people contact her, Polites spends a long time on the telephone describing her services in detail, and if they want to proceed, sends them an agreement. Sometimes the patient pays for her services. Other times, the family pays.

When she’s under contract, she visits the patient, preferably when a family member is present, and spends an hour and a half assessing the living situation and looking for safety issues, like throw rugs and electrical cords snaking across the floor.

She checks the cabinets and refrigerator and performs a full nutritional and medication assessment, then writes a lengthy report detailing her findings and recommendations and sends it to the family as well as the patient.

Polites checks on clients whenever needed, helps coordinate their health care, and does tasks like picking up prescriptions or adult diapers when the senior needs them.

Polites doesn’t charge for the initial calls, but after the contract is signed, she charges $100 an hour for services. She typically doesn’t charge for travel time unless the patient lives a long way off and doesn’t typically charge for errands like picking up medication for patients.

Polites has connected with colleagues who also provide services to the elderly. “We support each other and brainstorm on difficult cases,” she says.